Friday, February 03, 2023

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Fall Sports Practices Causing Concern

State recommendations are to postpone sports — including practices and conditioning — until at least two weeks after the reopening of in-person instruction.

Kleine said practices have already been taking place in at least one fall sport in Westport — namely football — but there has been no discussion how this plays into to the reopening plans.

“I want to make sure we’re being consistent with what we’re doing in school and what we’re doing for our kids who play sports and then come to school,” said Kleine, who has pointed out at several BOE meetings that the CIAC’s COVID-related guidelines are much weaker than the state’s.

She’s noted that CIAC is an organization that receives money through the districts and clearly benefits from sports programs proceeding.

“It isn’t just football, it’s soccer and it’s cheerleading,” Kleine said, noting that neighboring states have pushed football back until mid-September.

Yet Chair Candice Savin put a kibosh on Kleine’s concerns, stating that since it wasn’t on the agenda, it couldn’t be discussed.

“It’s not fair to have a discussion on something we haven’t posted,” she said, though the BOE was broadly voting on the school reopening plans.

Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice noted that there were “different interests” at play across both the academic and extracurricular spectra.

While he said the BOE could make a recommendation about fall sports now, he didn’t believe it needed to, as he thinks the health department will produce more detailed guidelines presently.

“I could be wrong, but that’s my prediction,” he said.

Staples High School principal Stafford Thomas said his athletic department “had essentially paused the workouts that they had planned for this week.”

“They did push back the start of games and the number of games,” he said.

“I feel like we’re operating in one bubble and they’re operating in another bubble and the bubbles are gonna meet in school and I just don’t think it’s right,” Kleine said.

State recommendations are to postpone sports — including practices and conditioning — until at least two weeks after the reopening of in-person instruction.

Kleine said practices have already been taking place in at least one fall sport in Westport — namely football — but there has been no discussion how this plays into to the reopening plans.

“I want to make sure we’re being consistent with what we’re doing in school and what we’re doing for our kids who play sports and then come to school,” said Kleine, who has pointed out at several BOE meetings that the CIAC’s COVID-related guidelines are much weaker than the state’s.

She’s noted that CIAC is an organization that receives money through the districts and clearly benefits from sports programs proceeding.

“It isn’t just football, it’s soccer and it’s cheerleading,” Kleine said, noting that neighboring states have pushed football back until mid-September.

Yet Chair Candice Savin put a kibosh on Kleine’s concerns, stating that since it wasn’t on the agenda, it couldn’t be discussed.

“It’s not fair to have a discussion on something we haven’t posted,” she said, though the BOE was broadly voting on the school reopening plans.

Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice noted that there were “different interests” at play across both the academic and extracurricular spectra.

While he said the BOE could make a recommendation about fall sports now, he didn’t believe it needed to, as he thinks the health department will produce more detailed guidelines presently.

“I could be wrong, but that’s my prediction,” he said.

Staples High School principal Stafford Thomas said his athletic department “had essentially paused the workouts that they had planned for this week.”

“They did push back the start of games and the number of games,” he said.

“I feel like we’re operating in one bubble and they’re operating in another bubble and the bubbles are gonna meet in school and I just don’t think it’s right,” Kleine said.

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